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Darts: Players Championship 27 and 28 preview

The Players Championship finals are looming and Players Championship 27 and 28 will see the world’s best darts players aiming to hit top gear as the sport prepares for the biggest events of the year.

Finals on the horizon

The two Players Championship events to take place this weekend represent the third and fourth last Players Championship tournaments of the season and the players taking part will have one eye on the Players Championship Finals which is due to take place next month.

The top 64 from the Players Championship Order of Merit end up qualifying for the tournament in Minehead so this weekend’s events could be crucial to the chances of some players making it to the finals.

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The Players Championship Finals is one of the last big events before the World Championships, so provides a perfect springboard for the biggest tournament of the year.

Peter Wright won last year’s Players Championship Finals, beating Ryan Searle 11-10 in the final, and then went on to take the World Championship crown, showing that the event can be the perfect preparation for the Alexandra Palace.

Heta turning up the heat

Damon Heta has arguably been the form player in darts in the last month or so, winning his first European Tour event by beating Wright in the final of the Gibraltar Darts Trophy before winning Players Championship 26.

The two victories came in the space of just six days and the Australian number one is cementing himself as one of the top players in the world.

To add to those successes, Heta also reached the semi-finals of Player Championship 25 and no player will want a first-round draw against the Heat this weekend.

Chizzy back in the winner’s circle

Another player who has been in fine form in recent weeks is Dave Chisnall, who won his first ProTour title in over two years when taking Players Championship 25 in scintillating fashion.

Chizzy set a new record for most 180s in one Players Championship event, hitting 35 across the day as he beat Josh Rock 8-4 in the final. Chisnall also won the Belgian Open recently and has been back to his best.

Rock and Roll

The PDC is as competitive as it has ever been and a number of young players are coming through the ranks to challenge the old guard.

Noone fits that description more so than Josh Rock, who at just 21 years old has been turning heads all season with eye-popping averages and big results on the PDC Tour.

The Northern Irishman reached the final of Players Championship 25, averaging 110 in his matchup with Dirk van Duijvenbode along the way.

Rocky fell just short in the final of that event but is one to watch in both these Players Championship events and beyond as he cements himself as the most exciting youngster in darts.

Cross looking to set himself up for European Championship

Rob Cross won Players Championship 24 in August and will be hoping for a good run this weekend to set himself up for a tournament that he has a strong record at, next weekend’s European Championship.

Cross will travel to Dortmund having won two of the last three European Championships and a good run in these Players Championship events will provide the perfect springboard as he attempts to further that good record.

Who could star?

With the competitive nature of the PDC these days, finding the winner of these events can be a difficult task, particularly when players have been firing in 110+ averages with regularity in recent weeks.

The standard is extremely high, and with qualification for the Players Championship Finals on the line for some, there will be no easy games.

However, Luke Humphries has had one of the best seasons of any player in the PDC, winning numerous European Tour events and reaching the final of Players Championship 24.

Cool Hand was beaten by Chisnall in the quarter-finals of the 25th event but Chizzy averaged 114 in that match so there is no shame in that defeat.

Humphries has recently become a father for the first time and could celebrate in the best possible fashion with victory in Barnsley at this weekend’s Players Championship events, furthering what has already been the best season of his burgeoning career.

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